London: Olivier Giroud issued an extraordinary public apology to his wife, family, Arsenal and even Arsene Wenger on Sunday following allegations that the model Celia Kay had entered his hotel room on the night before a Premier League match.
Giroud, 27, is Arsenal’s first choice centre-forward and is also a key player for the France national side.
The story first surfaced on Sunday last week and, as well as initially denying that Kay had visited his room, Giroud took legal advice over the story.
British newspaper The Sun, however, followed up the story on Sunday with a photograph of Giroud, apparently exiting the bathroom of his hotel room in only his underwear. Around 90 minutes before Sunday’s 2-1 win against Liverpool, Giroud then posted a series of messages in English and French on Twitter.
“I apologise to my wife, family and friends and my manager, teammates and Arsenal fans,” said Giroud. “I now have to fight for my family and for my club and obtain their forgiveness. Nothing else matters at the moment.”
Unusually, Giroud did not start on Sunday for Arsenal although he did come on as a substitute in the 88th minute. Wenger explained Giroud’s absence by saying that he had “looked a bit tired recently”.
When that answer provoked raised eyebrows, Wenger added: “I know where you want to lead me, slowly but surely. He has made a statement. For the rest we will deal with it internally. I want to respect his privacy.”
An Arsenal spokesman also stressed that any disciplinary action would be dealt with privately.
Giroud, however, had reportedly pleaded with Wenger not to fine him a whopping £200,000 for the incident.
Giroud is expected to return to the starting team for the Champions League tie against Bayern Munich on Wednesday.
The hotel incident was reported to have taken place in the early hours before Arsenal’s 2-0 win against Crystal Palace on February 2. Giroud played the full 90 minutes of that game.
Meanwhile, Giroud’s wife Jennifer has shut her Twitter account after the Arsenal and France striker admitted to cheating on her.
Jennifer later received a torrent of tweets, offering advice on how to deal with the situation. However, she decided to close the account in a bid to keep her private life away from the watching public.
Kay claimed in the same newspaper on Sunday: “Olivier knows the truth and the fact that he lied about us is pathetic.
“He’s just digging a bigger hole for himself. If he is big enough to do the crime, he’s got to serve the time.”
The Premier League striker married wife Jennifer in 2011 and their first child, Jade, was born on June 18 June, 2013. Giroud is also a devout Christian.
Giroud has scored 13 goals in 30 appearances for Arsenal this season.
Given that the alleged incident occurred on the eve of the heavy 1–5 defeat to Liverpool, Giroud’s relationship with Arsenal fans could also be jeopardised.
The Gunners were roundly criticised for their performance at Anfield last weekend and midfielder Mikel Arteta revealed manager Wenger was “the angriest I have seen him” at half-time in the defeat. (Agencies)